A Little Green
Last night, my wife and I attended a talk by Richard Louv, author of "Last Child in the Woods." It was a very interesting lecture on our society's nature deficit disorder. With my generation, we had the run of the neighborhood. Every summer day, we'd take off after breakfast, show up for lunch, and then we'd be off again. There were woods and creeks and hedges and paths and cornfields to explore. Sometimes, the exploration would take place in my own backyard, but more often than not, it would take place wherever my bicycle and my legs could take me. He talked about how we hold our kids under "house arrest" and prevent them from experiencing the same level of nature we enjoyed as children. It was a powerful talk, which made me sad that my children aren't getting the same childhood I enjoyed.
Some of you may be thinking, "Oh great, Tim's gone all environmental on us. Next he'll be chaining himself to a tree." (Wishful thinking on your part.) What really impressed me about Mr. Louv's talk is how much of a systems thinker he is. This guy gets it when it comes to looking at the results he wants and then backing into the inputs which will get him there. Whether he's talking about social change or behavioral modification, he impressed me with his deep understanding of cause-and-effect. For example, he said his goal was not to villify video games. Yeah, sounds odd for a guy trying to get kids outside, doesn't it? His reason was simple: if you make video games the bad guy, then kids will just want to play them more. Like I said, he understands human behavior. But even more, he understands the system and how it works.
While his book and talk were directed at getting kids outdoors, what about us cubicle-dwelling big kids? How often do you schedule a meeting outdoors? When is the last time you stepped away from you desk to walk around outside and clear your head? Where was your "special place" when you were a kid? Can you find a new one and create a healthy second childhood? Thanks to IowaGoGreen.com for bringing Mr. Louv to Des Moines.